Photos: Kimberley French, Tim Palen
Go go Power Rangers! Prepare to relive 90s nostalgia when the latest take on the popular franchise hits theatres this month. Featuring an all-new cast of fresh faces, Saban’s Power Rangers centres around five ordinary teenagers who discover that they are destined to save the planet when it is attacked by dastardly witch Rita Repulsa and her alien army.
Playing Red Ranger Jason Scott, the leader of the heroic quintet, is Australian actor Dacre Montgomery in his Hollywood debut. The 22-year-old won the part while still in his final month as a student at the Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (where fellow Aussie superstar Hugh Jackman also attended). According to director Dean Israelite, Dacre was just like his character, “a born leader”, who was “the one making sure [the actors] were all coordinating because they were from all around the world” before any of them knew each other.
Taking on the role of Pink Ranger Kimberly Hart is up-and-coming British starlet Naomi Scott, whose filmography includes The 33, The Martian and Terra Nova. Dean describes the 23-year-old as an actress who “brings a depth and humanity to the character”, and clarifies that the female lead isn’t there to serve the male lead. “She is wounded and complex and goes on her own important journey in the film.”
Bringing some more girl power into the team is Becky G as Yellow Ranger Trini. Although the 2o-year-old Mexican-American pop star “may be as quiet as the original Trini was”, Dean assures that she’s “all fierce” and “has an incredibly strong presence in everything she does”.
Billy Cranston the Blue Ranger is played by RJ Cyler who, at the tender age of 21, has already racked up a decent list of film credits and award nominations. “He brings his own spin to every moment in the script,” says Dean. “Most importantly, his unique brand of humour and heart is infectious.”
And last but not least, we have Chinese-Canadian actor Ludi Lin as Zack the Black Ranger. “Ludi has had an adventurous life; he can tell you where he’s lived in the world and the sort of mischief he’s gotten himself into and out of,” says Dean of the 29-year-old Fuzhou native, who has lived in Australia, Canada, Los Angeles and Thailand. “He personifies the wild spirit that Zack had and should have. There's never an emotional challenge or a physical stunt that Ludi will back away from and I think that courage embodies the original character perfectly.”
Left to right: RJ Cyler (Blue Ranger), Naomi Scott (Pink Ranger), Ludi Lin (Black Ranger), Becky G (Yellow Ranger), Dacre Montgomery (Red Ranger)
In addition to the five young stars, Saban’s Power Rangers will also feature A-listers Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Banks as the Power Rangers’ mentor Zordon and arch nemesis Rita Repulsa respectively. Former Saturday Night Live comedian Bill Hader lends his voice to Alpha 5, Zordon’s robot assistant.
The filmmakers were aware of the challenge to deliver a product that will make both longtime fans and newcomers happy. “We made sure that, as we developed the film’s script, we stayed true to the original Mighty Morphin Ranger characters, but added additional layers of dimension to each of them,” says Saban producer Brian Casentini, as Dean adds, “It’s imperative that they feel like we have taken what they love about the series and brought it to life in a contemporary way while respecting the mythology.”
While thrilling superhero action is certainly to be expected, Saban’s Power Rangers also spotlights matters that teens – and everyone else – can relate to. “We have challenges, issues, and sometimes we feel alienated. So while the film focuses on the fun of kids being superheroes with their friends, we also wanted to counterbalance that with some of the realities of being a teenager today,” says producer Marty Bowen. “I think that is what gives this film real humanity.”
Saban’s Power Rangers opens in cinemas on March 23.
Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa
Toggle is giving away 10 pairs of tickets to the preview screening of Saban’s Power Rangers, courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films Pte Ltd.
Saban’s Power Rangers preview screening details
Date: March 22 (Wednesday)
Venue: The Cathay, Level 5
For your chance to win, simply answer the following question. Entries with the correct answers will be picked at random to win.
Question: Name five stars and the roles they play in Saban’s Power Rangers.
Email your answer together with your name, NRIC, residential address, email address and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject ‘Toggle Power Rangers’
Contest ends March 19 and winners will be notified via email. *Terms and conditions apply.
* Terms and Conditions
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